Asian food

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

I don’t really cook food of the Asian persuasion very often and I wish I did. It’s so healthy and delicious. The problem I face is that I often don’t know what certain ingredients are, or how to use them. This recipe was relatively simple and had ingredients I was able to buy at my local grocery store. When it came time to make it, I admit I had to google “how to cut bok choy”.

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I still don’t think I did it right, despite watching a video. Oh well, it tasted the same. (I think.)

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

From: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/spicy_tofu_hotpot.html

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces firm tofu, preferably water-packed
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 4 cups thinly sliced tender bok choy greens
  • 8 ounces fresh Chinese-style (lo mein) noodles
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Cut the block into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sugar, broth, soy sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add bok choy and tofu, cover and simmer until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the noodles, pushing them down into the broth.
  4. Cook, covered, until the noodles are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.
  5. Note: Chile-garlic sauce is a spicy blend of chiles, garlic and other seasonings; it is found in the Asian section of the market.

Nutrition Facts

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

Serves 1.5 cups

Amount Per Serving
Calories 251
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7grams 10.8%
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=36968

Two things I should point out: this was not a soup recipe like I thought it was and it could have been spicier. I also think I bought the wrong tofu. I rarely cook with it and it kind of fell apart instead of cubing when I cut it. Tips? Tricks?

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It’s odd when you have a picture of the final product in your mind and it was completely different. Like I said, I thought it was soup. So when I was adding the noodles at the very end, I panicked. “Oh my god! It’s soaking up all the liquid!” I added some more chicken broth and it soaked that up too. Then I realized, oh maybe it’s NOT soup…I think because I added more liquid it diluted the Sriracha.

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Despite my mistakes in making this recipe, it turned out really well. It was a noodle dish and despite diluting it with chicken broth, it still had some bite to it.

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It was also gluten-free and dairy-free. I would definitely make this recipe again and I’d add a lot more sriracha to it. If you aren’t a fan of tofu, you could easily substitute chicken or shrimp and I think that would be fantastic. The recipe says it makes 6 servings but I got about 7 out of it.

Before we got home from work Tuesday night, Michael and I stopped at New Seasons (kind of like Whole Foods) here in Portland. We picked up some too-expensive GF and DF items.

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We found dairy free chocolate! And it was divine. I got two flavors: dark chocolate with orange and dark chocolate with lemon. Michael and I ate the whole thing for dessert between the two of us. The dark chocolate was rich and the hint of orange went well. It was much more satisfying than those gluten and dairy free cookies I bought earlier this month.

Above you can see we also got a tofu jalapeno spread by Toby’s.  I was reluctant to buy it. It was spendy and I was nervous about committing to it in case it was disgusting. It wasn’t. It was…odd…but not gross. It tasted like a cross between guacamole and egg salad. Odd, right? I had a few bites to sample it. I don’t think I’d buy it again but it will work for this challenge.

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The big win of the night was GLUTEN FREE BEER! Woohoo!!!! I am happy to report that it was REALLY TASTY. Surprise, surprise. I was resigned to giving up beer for the month of February and was okay with it. Michael really wanted to try Omission and I’m glad we did. It was a decent substitution to the rich IPAs I like.

I’m really happy to report that there are lots of decent alternatives if you are gluten-free. It really isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

QUESTION: Do you cook Asian food very often? Any favorite recipes?

Social Hour

With Michael in Seattle for work, I made a ton of plans with my friends. My solo weekend included a much needed pedicure with my cousin Anna, I bought tickets for the Fleetwood Mac concert coming this June, and I went out to dinner with my friend Erika on Saturday night. We went to Stickers Asian Cafe and I was able to successfully stay on the diet. I narrowed down the entrees I knew I could eat (they had rice or rice noodles and no dairy in it) and asked the waitress if the yakisoba noodles were made with wheat (according to the internet it could be gluten-free but sometimes the noodles were made with wheat). The waitress did one better: she brought me a list of their gluten-free, soy-free, and wheat-free items that were on the menu. That made it even easier picking something. Thankfully I was able to get some noodles that were gluten-free!

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Erika and I ended up going across the street after dinner to Kay’s to continue the evening. Kay’s was a cute but divey bar in Sellwood with cheap drinks and your typical greasy bar food. I got a glass of wine at Kay’s and before I knew it, Erika and I had been talking and hanging out for hours. It was nearing midnight and we started to wind things down.

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On Sunday I did a little baking. I wanted to share this recipe with you because it was so good! I don’t know what website I found it from, or I’d share the link here. The print outs usually include the source but this one did not.

Copycat Chocolate Crunch Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Servings: About 6

Adapted from 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • Sweetener to taste (I used agave)
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine coconut oil and sweetener. Stir, and add cocoa powder and rice crispies. If needed, add 3 tablespoons water or milk if using stevia as sweetener. Stir until it gets thick.
  2. Pour into a flat container. Freeze until solid. Store in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts

Copycat Chocolate Crunch Bars

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories About 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=36940

This dessert was really easy and fast to make. It only made about 6 servings so if you are making this for a party, you might want to double the recipe. While I was making this recipe I kept thinking, “This isn’t going to make very much…”

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It doesn’t look very photogenic, I apologize, but I guarantee you it’s delicious. I put it in a little tupperware container lined with wax paper and put it in the freezer. It was in there for about an hour or two and then I sampled it. 🙂

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Since it was frozen, I broke off a chunk and was so happy to see that it was ready to eat. IT WAS SO GOOD. I finally found a gluten and dairy free dessert that is absolutely fantastic and does not taste fake. It was definitely not unsatisfying like some of the other dairy/gluten-free desserts I’ve tried so far.

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It tasted just like a Nestle Crunch bar made out of dark chocolate. Even if I don’t continue doing the dairy-free thing, I will most definitely make this dessert on a regular basis. I cannot express how rich and good it was!

After making the dessert, I cut up a ton of veggies for the week and also got things ready for my first book club meeting. I’ve never been in a book club before but I’ve wanted to for a long time. This was our first meeting. A bunch of friends came over to my house and we talked about “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.

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The snacks I had were: homemade guacamole with carrots, celery and gluten-free crackers. I also put out some store bought hummus (I ran out of time and couldn’t make my own) and some grapes. It was kind of a weird time (4-6) so by the time the meeting was over and it was dinner time I’d pretty much eaten a dinner of crackers and guacamole. 🙂 I ended up having a bowl of cereal a few hours later and called it a night. Not the healthiest of meals but oh well!

The book club meeting was a lot of fun. It was my first time participating in one, as was it for most of my friends. Thankfully one friend, Debby, had been part of one before and she got the ball rolling. It was funny because the discussion was pretty thoughtful about the book but we ended up going into long discussions about The Walking Dead and other books and movies that had similar post-apocalyptic themes like “The Road” did.

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My holiday weekend ended with another Body Pump class (I finally felt like I belonged in the class because I could keep up and anticipate the moves) and then acupuncture. What a fun weekend! All weekends should be like that.

QUESTION: Do you have any book recommendations for my next book club to read?